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Taste Test: Dried Sweetened Hibiscus Flowers

I like to keep my pantry stocked full of things — olive tapenade, cheese, crackers, and dried fruits — for an impromptu party. The other day I noticed it was sparse, so I headed off to Trader Joe's. While there, I found these dried sweetened hibiscus flowers and decided to take home a package.

I've had hibiscus cooler, but I had never actually eaten dried hibiscus flowers. Although I was a bit weirded out — the petals shriveled up into long fingerlike prongs — I was curious to try them. Surprisingly, and I'm sure this has to do with the fact that they're sweetened, they were delicious! With a sweet yet tart flavor, they're like a chewier version of dried cranberries.

Great for snacking, they would also be an excellent addition to salads or baked goods. I stirred some into a pitcher of sparkling lemonade, and it made for a super BBQ hit. Folks were intrigued by the look, the flavor melded with the lemonade well, and the flowers tinted the liquid a pretty color.

What do you think? Is this something you would try?

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